THE BOOK OF JOBBING PART IV
How Sidemen were Created
And so the great Leader Nebulon did embark upon a search for suitable
Sidemen for his orchestra, and he could find none; for in those days
there were not many, and those that he could find were already working.
Some worked the Ark with the House of Noah, and some had the house gig
at The Walls of Jericho. And many played behind the scat-singing team
of Shadrach,Meshach and Abednago.
So Nebulon did return to the Lord and saith, "Lord, there are
many musicians, but no Sidemen!." And the Lord did say, "Shmuck
! Have you looked everywhere? Did you call the Union ?" And Nebulon
did say, "Lord, I have looked high and low, especially low, and
only one or two could I find. What shall I do?" And the Lord did
afflict Nebulon with boils, saying, "Leave me to think on this!"
And just to buy some time he did also visit a plague of locusts on Egypt.
And the Lord did summon a league of Angels, and sent them forth over
the land, commanding them to find him some Sidemen. And the Angels did
go to the four corners of the earth, but the only unemployed Sideman
they could find was one holy man in India who did play the Horn With
The Angels did return to the Lord with the bad news, and filled with
wrath he was. "How can this be? At one time the world did teem
with Sidemen, as a dead oxen does with maggots!" And the Angels
did say, "Lord, many left the business, some have even become Leaders,
and no Leader will work for another Leader." So the Lord did cause
drought for 40 days while he thought, and the answer came to him.
He did recall that there was a factory, part of his Beasts Of The
Field, Inc., division, that was in disuse. For it had been used to create
golems, for which there had been no great demand, and so He had closed
down the operation. And He thought, We can retool, and start turning
And so it was done, and the Sidemen started rolling off the assembly
line. But somehow a remnant of the golem program remained, and the Sidemen
did come out acting unpredictably. Some stammered and stuttered, some
talked to themselves under their breath, and some would not bathe. Some
refused to shave their beards or to have their hair shorn, and some
refused to wear the Jobbing Toga. And some wore the Toga, but left them
crumpled in their chariots in between Gigs, or slept in them, or wore
Togas from eons past, with ruffles. And some did not believe in maps,
and wandered the land aimlessly looking for the Gig, and some did not
believe in the use of the hourglass, and arrived at the Gig whenever
they chose. And some loved the fermented nectar of dates, and some the
wine of pressed grapes, and some loved the burning of hemp. And some
were created without ears, and some with knuckles where their eyebrows
should be. And some did worship the gods Trane, Dolphy, Bird, Rashaan,
Hodges, Bechet, Mahavishnu and Ornette, and mocked their Leaders.And
some did steal food from the buffet line, yea, even before the Guests
had dined. And some did try to lay with the Chick Singers, and some
with the Guests. And some did not Read, and some could only Read, and
not Blow. And some had no social skills, and some had no musical skills.
And many of them were Dark, not in pigmentation of the skin, but in
the Outlook on Life.
But every once in a while the line did produce a Perfect Sideman:
One who followed orders without question,one who showed up on time,
one who wore the Toga, one whose chariot always ran, one who Knew Tunes.
But these Perfect Sidemen were few and far between, and besides their
eyes were glazed, and they were shunned, for they were Boring, AND-
they knew not how to Hang.
And soon the land teemed with Sidemen milling about, looking for Gigs,
complaining and whining and arguing and occasionally stabbing each other
in the back.
And the Lord looked down upon his work, and said, "It will do."